Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Silhouette of Home


...with Sunset and Moon



...Give Peace A Chance...



..from up on the bluff, St. Martins on the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Concrete Floor



This week I have been on my hands and knees varnishing the kitchen floor... several coats worth...
...after having blocked the room off so the dogs needn't give me a hand..

... the counters and table were piled high with stuff that is usually on the floor... ahhh, much better ... but where did all this Stuff come from???

... first I gathered up as much dog hair as I possibly could.. sweeping, vacuuming and picking up bits of the sneaky stuff here and there..... how do any animals lose this much hair and not be bald, I haven't figured out!!!


 


A little background...

 If you have never lived with a concrete floor I would highly recommend it.. They are the most durable floors I have ever used...and the absolute most low maintenance...

...  this is simply our 4" concrete slab... gridded in 36 " squares  that John created using his circular saw set to cut into the floor about 1/16 of an inch... carefully keeping his lines straight with a "MacGyvered" weighted plank as a guide...

 ...then we stained it with an acid-etched terra-cotta stain,  rubbing it into the concrete.. we each took alternate squares so the rubbed pattern would look somewhat even over the whole floor....

...the  shade is rather like old leather...  little idiosyncrasies happen in the finishing of the concrete and the application of the stain, which is the way we like things.. not perfect and with its own character...  after that it only needs varnishing whenever you so desire... I think it has been 5 years...



 


... another feature of a concrete floor is its ability to act as a thermal mass...

Yes, we live in Canada, where it gets cold in the winter... but... generally...  we receive plenty of Sunshine during those months... hope it continues...  what with all the upheaval in the climatic environment, one would be hard to make a proper guess, but for now it works........


When we built our home, the first thing we considered was Orientation ...  We designed it facing  South, luckily that is also where the Bay of Fundy view is, so that worked out well... we are totally exposed to the elements on this bluff...  360 degrees across open to the sky ... and to the solar heat gain from the Sun... of course not as many windows on the North side...

All winter it beams in the East, South and West windows and sinks into that concrete... that's passive solar...  with the addition of the absorption of the radiant heat from our wood-stoves, we are pretty cozy...  and when you stand in the especially warm spots, the heat sinks right into your bones...    when your feet are warm, all of you is warm... 

 ...also not to forget in the summer when the sun is higher in the sky, the concrete floor keeps the house cool... double feature...



 



 ... should be good for another few years or so...



 


In the beginning...

 ...Underneath that durable floor is this wire mesh grid-work of steel rods that John is fastening together with wire ties...
...underneath the gridwork is 6mm. plastic vapor barrier... this shot is from when he was doing the garage... in the main structure of the house directly under the grid work  are many winding yards of hydronic tubes placed about 1 foot  apart covering the whole surface,  then  a layer of 2 inch tongue and groove rigid foam insulation ... then finally underneath it all is gravel tamped down very firmly to provide a good base structurally for the concrete floor and for drainage...
...We have the hydronic tubes installed in the concrete so they are there for the future, but we being the old fashioned frugal folks we are, only use our woodstoves for heat...  we like the way you live with a wood stove...

***

... and that old solid wood door with the fresh coat of paint just behind John,  we scrounged from the roadside... a fellow who was modernizing his very old house threw it away...  it still has original wavy glass... he bought one of those new foam doors..  I think we found the best deal...

***

  Note.... I used "Flecto, Varathane, Diamond Wood Finish, Semi-Gloss, for Floors"...  I have 4 layers of it on my wooden stair treads and it wears well there... here's hoping it is just as long lasting on the concrete ... after all once the first coat is sealed, I do not see what difference it would make what surface it was applied to...



*first photo...  floor is still wet.

***



I would also love to try an even lower maintenance  floor, somewhere, sometime and that is Concrete that is dyed previously to being poured and then finished with linseed oil...

... applications of oil are applied in a traditional manner, the same as is done to unfinished hardwood flooring, which I have done and can attest too... such as this... 
 ...once a day for a week,
once a week for a month, 
once a month for a year 
and thereafter when required... maybe once a year or once every 5 years depending on how casual you like to live... the floor becomes impermeable... it may seem like a lot of work in the beginning but it is so long-wearing and easy to care for and beautiful, it is worth it...  another good point about an oiled finish is that any scratches can be fixed at any time without doing the whole floor... just rub some oil on the scratch ... done.

Friday, December 04, 2009

No Interchange



When this crow  lived
It glided...  free...
High up over my head


When this bird had breath
I could not reach it...
I could not stroke its shantung wings


Now...  in this state
I can hold it in the palm of my hand...

Now where is the reason in that?






...I found this beautiful raven skull in the woods on our sandstone bluff when we were building our home... 1999... it is sitting on a trilobite fossil-filled piece of slate from the Canadian Shield  near Guelph, Ont. retrieved by my fossil-hunting brother when a student there...
...to see that the Beak is  part of the actual skull was enlightening to me... 

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Christmas Show

 
 


Our first Christmas Show of the Season was held third weekend of November at
Harbor Station in Saint John, New Brunswick...
 This tent with the colored flags  and John's steel tables is our booth...





 


We have been going to this particular show for 17 years... as I write this, I can't believe it... but I do remember our first show being very pregnant for Max who was born on Christmas Day... where has the time gone...

... the panel that is 1/2 hidden in the back of our booth,  is called "Seeing All" ... it involves the Moon, the Sun,  the Eye of Horus and Time ..

 

After 3 days of long hours and the weeks before preparing for it,  our feet were so tired by Sunday night, I thought they were going to fall off......  but it was worth it ...

Thank you dear friends, customers and organizers....  Wonderful to see you!!!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Study of a Dragonfly





Our Dragonfly Earrings..
Sterling Silver and Copper... forged, delicately textured and antiqued


...we have been creating this design since before we moved to St. Martins



 



The delicacy of  Dragonfly wings...
...makes one imagine that this is what Fairy wings would look like...

... gossamer...






... Dragonfly pen and ink...  from an earlier post... can be seen here



... At Rest...         wings outstretch

 ...On Watch...     a patrolling general

...In Nature...       exquisite sensuality



...click photo for shimmering up-close wings...



Dragonfly, Dragonfly, light on me,

Your beauty close, so I may see...


... your iridescence

... your fragility






...a very mellowed, small pen and ink from my sketchbook...






... a summer visitor...

...she's had her tea...   it's time to go...







...all drawings, paintings, jewelry, words, photographs...
 created in our DESIDERATUM studio in St. Martins, New Brunswick


...approximate size of Dragonfly earring...
wingtip to wingtip 1¼"  ... eyes to tip of tail 1¼" ...
$25.00 pr.

... to our Whimsical Collection




***

This page is dedicated to my Friend, Cvitka Marun, a lover of dragonflys... Thank you so much!
***


Monday, November 02, 2009

A Tour Down the Street




From the first time we strolled through the village of St. Martins,
I fell in love with it..

for it is more than just a  seashore...


1844.. historically known as The Willows


... Older Architectural Beauties abound...
to fill the eyes with the creativity of talented creators from the past...
...we can still share in their visions come to be...


1850... the Rourke House


...still standing proud


1899... General Store since that time


...showing the life that came before


 
home of former train conductor... no train runs here now


... charming


 
1877...originally the Doctor's home and his Drugstore


..unfortunately,  lost to fire, Aug/11




 ... historically, it had been the social center of the village...it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1900 and rebuilt exactly as before...


...it reads like a story book


 
 ...an old Captain's house


...imagine the stories


 
1890... The Overlook


...many built by shipwrights and Sea Captains



 
1857... after a villa on the French Riviera seen while on honeymoon


there are so many more Beauties.... 



 
Surf Cottage.. built as a wedding gift for a daughter


 that will have to be for another time...



 
1880...Avon Hotel


...an old lovely that has seen better days...


***


...excerpt below taken from the Historical Society of St. Martins, New Brunswick...

 " St. Martins was settled in 1783 by a detachment of the King’s Orange Rangers...  Loyalist soldiers from  Orange  and Duchess Counties,  New York.  The detachment had been posted to garrison duty in Nova Scotia at the end of hostilities in the American Revolution of 1776.


 St. Martins was the third largest producer of wooden sailing vessels in New Brunswick.

Between 1803 and 1900,  517 vessels such as  Schooners,   Brigantines,   Sloops,   Yachts, and  Cutters,  were built and launched in over a dozen shipyards along the beaches, coves and rivers in and around St. Martins.    Lumbering was also an important industry locally and a great deal of it was required to construct vessels of the size turned out by local shipyards.


     Contemporary St. Martins is less populous than during its shipbuilding heyday of the 19th century. However, the village has retained much of its 19th century character. The vessels built here sailed all over the world and brought back ideas and architectural designs which the Captains, wealthy shipbuilders and mariners applied to the construction of their own homes. Those who could afford it (and there were many at the time), brought artisans from abroad who painted wall and ceiling murals in their homes and some exist still."


***


Sadly sixty buildings were lost during  "The Great Fire of 1900",   which started in Burchhills's Mill,  a few miles from the village and burned through the woods until reaching the village.. 



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

She




I pause along the shore in October...
by a Sea that has taken its toll.

She lies calm now... pacified by the Heavens.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

All in the Wisp of a Feather



Do you ever want to do something... but hold off from doing it... because you feel you may be interrupted and have to stop, for some unknown reason....then have to put it all away and not have the time to finish it...

... well never mind that...

... Just Do It...




... that is what I finally told myself...

... and I finally listened!



...sometimes we are the ones standing in our own light...





... pen and ink of a crow's feather with watercolor ...

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Muses



Rhythm... in process...

Earthy inspiration...




Undulating...

Patterns in repetition...
Just as in prose and poetry...
It has been said that human beings have a seemingly basic need for such a recurrence...
or for the effect produced by it...






The Muses.... 2 " long... Handmade using Sterling Silver and Copper... with Sterling Earwires... Forged, Wrapped, Fused, Textured...


Update:  as of July 2014,  "The Muses" have Sold Out and are no longer available...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

At Work in the Jewelry Studio



I'll be spending longer hours at the bench these days ... so I'll be away for a while....


Take Care .... and Cheerio!
.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Good Work, Max!



My youngest son, Max .... 15 ... Grade 10...




Practicing guitar... he especially likes the beginning of a particular ACDC song...



Beachcombing at Quaco Beach... not another soul in sight.....as often is the case




Spending time with the dogs, after bringing Gabi, the blonde one, to live with us... this was introduction day..



Tearing off across seaweed covered sandstone chasing the dogs near Anvil Rock at low tide... just a bike ride down the road...



Why do kids always make faces when we want to take their pictures....



Beginning the cedar shingling on the front of his camp... it originally was a tumbledown chicken house on the property when we bought it... but we didn't have the heart to tear it down.. we moved it up to the far side of the garden and it's transformation began taking place there...



Making progress... eventually this job was finished and Max and his friends camped out there and generally did things boys like to do when they have a getaway...



Seventeen minutes past a spider...



Making jewelry in the studio... for a couple summers when Max was 11 and 12 he tended his own booth and sold his own jewelry at the St. Martins harbor.... any that he sold of ours he could keep a percentage...




...we wanted him to learn responsibility, the effort required to earn a living and how to deal with the public... to learn entrepreneurship...



The hockey gear robot man... I don't know how anyone can skate with all that stuff on..



Playing hockey at the rink ... one of his most favourite things... he's #11




His latest surprise ... made me so pleased...

Max was presented with this Award of Excellence by the Principal of his school... Not bad for his first year back in the school system after being unschooled for 4-5 years (well actually, he mainly taught himself, we just encouraged him)... ... I was thrilled for him...

You did it, Max!!! .... Keep it up!

...to Max's Blog...